We've probably all been counseled to "be careful who you listen to."
We are reminded to seek counsel from godly men (and women). I have advised entrepreneurs throughout my career to receive counsel only from someone with a known prayer life. If I am asking for help, I want to make sure the counsel is from God through man.
I'm often amazed at how marketers receive counsel.
In accounting, counsel is somewhat governed by certification and adherence to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
In law, there is formal education and a bar exam to pass.
In marketing, well, there are no barriers to entry. Lay hands on thyself and BOOM—thou art a marketer. I have desk drawers full of "marketing expert" business cards.
What worries me most is that people who seriously need marketing help receive marketing counsel from self-anointed imposters. Malpractice in marketing is an epidemic. (Click here for my free download, 7 Reasons Your Organization Suffers From Marketing Malpractice and 3 Things You Can Do About It Now.)
Here is one indicator of marketing malpractice:
- Poor writing is the first and perhaps greatest offense of marketing malpractice. Marketing copy is often weak. The consumer's felt need is not addressed, and the writing is filled with paragraphs of gray matter. Sadly, the words do not matter at all to the target audience.
Ron Shusett, screenwriter of Total Recall and Alien, said, "It's unbelievably rare to find someone who can tell you what's wrong with a script, and 10 times rarer to find someone who can tell you how to fix it."
I believe it is equally rare to find a marketer who can write a compelling message about a felt need.
The first test you should give someone who wants you to listen to them about marketing is a writing test. I've given this little test to over 100 marketing sales types. Most of those who wanted to sell something didn't even bother to submit a response.
Here's the test:
Write me a letter and tell me why I should:
- Attend this church or
- Read this book or
- Attend this conference or
- Whatever you are marketing.
If the letter doesn't clearly demonstrate marketing competence, why would you ever listen to their counsel? (Read the Marketing Malpractice e-book for how to evaluate the letter.)
Then it might be wise to ask the writer if they prayed before they wrote the letter.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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